An aligned content development strategy
By Mark Probert
I am sure this may well ring true for many of you reading as it’s an issue I am seeing with some customers I work with. These customers have all invested heavily in a varied and effective learning catalogue but have done this in quite a detached and unstructured way. This has resulted in the following challenges:
- Content tracking problems
- Increasing overheads on support
- Inconsistent functionality
- Inconsistent branding/tone
- No central management of content authoring licences and access
- An inability to edit content internally
- Additional costs for multiple authoring tools and constant capability training
In most cases multiple tools are used to create content. Each tool operates differently, and this causes tracking and support issues. When content is built using a variety of methods and tools it is very difficult to identify where a problem could lie.
By way of example, some tools will push SCORM data on a page turn, while others will only do so on closure of a module. So, when a user contacts support to say ‘My course isn’t showing as complete even though I have done it all’, it is difficult to identify at what point this could have occurred and why. The user’s initial thought is obviously to assume there is something wrong with the platform and contact the LMS vendor. However, in my experience, the problem does not usually lie with the platform but with poorly designed content.
One instance where this could be an issue is if the user is able to navigate through an entire course without having completed each mandatory element (perhaps by clicking all the buttons on one screen before clicking ‘Next’) – this scenario can cause confusion, particularly if you are launching a group-wide piece of content that needs to be completed by a certain date. Yes, you could argue that the responsibility for this would be with the content-creation vendor or internal team to test, but I see these things slip through the net regularly. The result will be a huge overhead that will fall on the internal support team to identify where the issue lies, whose responsibility it is to fix it and what that fix actually is.
So what’s the solution to all this? I would suggest that the development of an aligned content-development strategy will eliminate these problems and deliver some simple standards that can easily be put into place:
- Anyone, internal or external, who creates content for you should use an aligned tool – not only does this mean you do not need to invest in multiple authoring tools to maintain access to edit and update content in future but it then ensures that everyone is using the same product in the same way.
- Recommended template structures and workflows – this would bring a familiarity to your content by using templates and structures that you are confident do not contain design flaws. There may, of course, be occasions when you will need to break this structure as you do need to create a variety of different learning, however at least you know the tool and areas to identify issues if they occur.
- Create a library of brands and themes – give authors options to choose from various looks and feels and flows to help bring variety to your learning content.
- Use a tool that allows for a central management of licences and user access – this will show you who is creating content when and what they can see in the system. You will also always have access to your content in one space regardless of who has built it.
- One tool – will instantly eliminate the cost overhead and constant capability management of using multiple tools.
As an example, CourseBuilder is a product that is primarily focused on being used in this type of environment and strategy. It has the ability to easily administer and manage a large global team of authors centrally by distributing licences, creating user groups and organising content and media. This allows a central learning team to not only manage how, where and who is creating content but also gives a full view of all of the learning content that is being created around the business. By using template modules for content creation you have the security to know there will be no tracking issues and eliminate that overhead the support team currently experience, which in turn can help build trust in the central learning team throughout the business.
If you would like to see more on how CourseBuilder can be effectively used as a strategic content tool then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.